Tag Archives: Azerbaijan

Azerbaijan: Intigam Aliyev c. Azerbaïdjan (CEDH)

le 20 septembre, 2018

Un avocat et défenseur des droits de l’homme accusé d’exploitation d’entreprise illégale, de détournement de fonds et de fraude fiscale, fait condamner 5 fois l’Azerbaïdjan.

(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 20/09/18)

http://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng?i=001-186126   (ENGLISH)

https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/case-history-intigam-aliyev (ENGLISH)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intiqam_Aliyev (ENGLISH)

https://www.meydan.tv/en/site/news/30563/ (ENGLISH)

http://oc-media.org/echr-rules-jailing-of-azerbaijani-rights-lawyer-politically-motivated/ (ENGLISH)

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Azerbaijan: Statement in Support of Azerbaijani Human Rights Lawyer Elchin Sadigov

September 17, 2018

Civil Rights Defenders and International Partnership for Human Rights are gravely concerned to hear of new disciplinary proceeding launched against the Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Elchin Sadigov by the Bar Association of Azerbaijan. The proceedings are the latest step in the Azerbaijani state’s campaign to deny a livelihood to any lawyers willing to take politically sensitive cases and to dismantle protections for civil society in general.

The proceedings were launched at the request of a deputy prosecutor, who had removed Sadigov from the case of Yunus Safarov, a Russian citizen accused of the attempted murder of the head of the Ganja city executive authority. According to the prosecutor’s claim, Sadigov advised his client to manufacture claims of torture and inhumane treatment in order to create grounds for a case for the European Court of Human Rights.

The complaint seems to be based on confidential attorney-client discussions, apparently obtained through extralegal surveillance, and states the prosecutor “could not find any proof about the allegations about the inhuman treatment and torture [of Safarov].” As photographs of Safarov’s bloodied body circulated on social media shortly after his arrest in July, the independent media outlet Meydan TV quoted several sources naming the specific individuals who allegedly tortured Safarov, and the Azerbaijani justice system has a well-documented and long history of systemic torture and ill-treatment, the allegations are clearly ungrounded.

Following the recent disbarment or suspension of the other prominent human rights lawyers Yalchin Imanov, Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, Asabali Mustafayev, Irada Javadova, and Nemat Kerimli, Sadigov’s suspension or removal from the bar would leave the country of 10 million people with only five active human rights lawyers.

https://crd.org/2018/09/17/statement-in-support-of-azerbaijani-human-rights-lawyer-elchin-sadigov/

https://www.fidh.org/en/region/europe-central-asia/azerbaijan/statement-in-support-of-azerbaijani-human-rights-lawyer-elchin

https://www.irfs.org/news-feed/lawyer-elchin-sadigov-reports-being-threatened-and-harassed/

http://oc-media.org/azerbaijani-human-rights-lawyer-emin-aslan-jailed-for-30-days/

https://iwpr.net/global-voices/inside-azerbaijans-prisons-anatomy-corruption

http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/watch/azerbaijan-upr-report-consideration-24th-meeting-39th-regular-session-human-rights-council/5837555997001/?term#t=42m15s

🇦🇿Watch new video. 20 Sep 2018 – As Azerbaijan underwent its 3rd Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle, and the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the Azerbaijan’s UPR outcomes, the International Bar Association‘s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) expressed concerns related to the lack of independence of lawyers in the country. The IBAHRI is particularly concerned by the ongoing harassment of lawyers working on human rights cases.

During the Azerbaijan UPR, the IBAHRI urged the Government of Azerbaijan to end the harassment of lawyers and ensure that the principle of independence of the legal profession is im.plemented in practice. A number of lawyers who have faced attacks were named including: 𝐘𝐚𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐦𝐚𝐧𝐨𝐯, disbarred for raising the issue of torture of his imprisoned client; and 𝐍𝐞𝐦𝐚𝐭 𝐊𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐥𝐢 whose lawyer’s licence was suspended because of the critical statements he made to the media concerning a case on which he was working. 𝐄𝐥𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝐒𝐚𝐝𝐲𝐠𝐨𝐯 was also mentioned because his confidential conversation with his client was surreptitiously taped, and then moves were made to use the content against him when the Azerbaijani Prosecution addressed the Azerbaijani Bar Association with a request to consider his lawyer’s licence.

(International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute Facebook, 21/09/18)

Ukraine/Kazakhstan/Russia/Moldova: Defence for the defenders: Lawyers and attorneys under attack for participation in politically motivated cases

June 29, 2018

The right to defence is one of the fundamental human rights that is enshrined in a number of international agreements. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims the principle of equality of all before the law, the presumption of innocence, and the right to be examined openly and with all the requirements of justice by an independent and impartial court.

In order to exercise their right to defence, prosecuted persons must have full access to legal services provided by independent lawyers and attorneys. According to the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, everyone has the right to ask any lawyer for help in defending their rights and protecting them at all stages of criminal proceedings.

According to the opinion of the European Court of Human Rightslawyers play a key role in maintaining public confidence in the judicial system and act as intermediaries between the public and courts. Thus, they are an important element of the rule of law.

As noted in paragraph 16 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, governments shall ensure that lawyers are able to perform all of their professional functions in an environment free from intimidation and improper interference. Also, lawyers shall not be prosecuted or sanctioned for any acts committed as part of their professional duties.

Unfortunately, in countries where democratic institutions are poorly developed and the rule of law does not work, lawyers and attorneys often become victims of persecution as well as various kinds of pressure and restrictions. This especially concerns those who participate in politically motivated cases.

Lawyers and attorneys are attacked both by state institutions and authorities and by various criminals, against which the state is unable to protect them. This prosecution also involves professional associations that proclaim their aim to protect the rights and interests of lawyers, but are not independent of state bodies.

At the moment, there are no effective mechanisms for monitoring the interference of the state and other entities in the activities of lawyers and attorneys. The solution could consist of adopting a special document that would protect lawyers and attorneys at the international level.

The statutory goals of the Open Dialog Foundation provide for the protection of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law in the post-Soviet space. This report examines cases of harassment and attacks on lawyers and attorneys in countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia, Ukraine,and Turkey. The latter is not a post-Soviet state, but it is a member of the Council of Europe and therefore has international obligations in the field of standards of law, democratic development, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

https://en.odfoundation.eu/a/8707,defence-for-the-defenders-lawyers-and-attorneys-under-attack-for-participation-in-politically-motivated-cases

#DayoftheEndangeredLawyer

Poland/Tajikistan/Azerbaijan/Kazakhstan/ Russia/Belarus: Next target: legal profession, HDIM side event, Warsaw

September 10, 2018

The legal profession plays a crucial role in ensuring access to justice for all, transparency and accountability of the state, Rule of law and the respect for human rights.

 

Yet, instead of being perceived as a vital player to the justice sector, today lawyers are often targeted by the governments in many OSCE countries for seeking truth and justice. As a result, lawyers often face high risks of persecution, harassment as well as severe sanctions for doing their job.

This side-event aims to specifically discuss the situation of lawyers in Belarus, Russia, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan. The discussion will extend to consider the latest developments related to the rights of lawyers and their independence in the respective countries, and what impact this has on the overall rule of law and human rights situation.

This side event will take place on 12 September 2018, from 13.00 -15.00 at Hotel Bristol, Warsaw

Moderator: Jurate Guzeviciute, Programme Lawyer, International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute

Presentations and Discussions:

Independence of the legal profession and harassment of lawyers in Eastern Europe and Central Asia:

https://www.icj.org/next-target-legal-profession-hdim-side-event-warsaw/

Azerbaijan: Left without a defence: Azerbaijan’s purge of human rights lawyers

August 30, 2018

Changes to the leadership and rules surrounding Azerbaijan’s Bar Association have left a number of prominent human rights lawyers unable to practice their trade. Independent journalists and opposition politicians say they are being left defenceless against political prosecutions, with one prominent human rights defender claiming just six lawyers now represent 150 political prisoners.

Freelance journalist Aynur Elgunash sued Azerbaijan’s Bar Association after they expelled her lawyer, Yalchin Imanov. Elgunash was repeatedly summoned for questioning as part of an investigation into journalists from Meydan TV, and she was eventually handed a travel ban. Before being disbarred, Imanov defended her both in interviews with police and in the courts. Now, the journalist has been left without a lawyer.

‘I need my lawyer’, Elgunash told OC Media, ‘in protest against the removal of my lawyer from the Bar Association, I appealed to Baku Administrative Economic Court No 1, but my complaint was dismissed’. The case is now being heard in the Court of Appeals.

Elgunash said the Bar Association offered her another lawyer. ‘I didn’t want that’, she said, ‘because I don’t trust any other lawyers. In today’s situation, the number of attorneys in the political process is minimal’.

According to Elgunash, the vast majority of lawyers are afraid to properly represent clients in political cases, so they take part as brokers only.

‘I’m against it. I can only trust people who won’t lead me in the wrong direction’, Elgunash said.

In past years, politically motivated disbarment was a relatively rare occurrence. With notable exceptions such as rights lawyers Aslan Ismayilov, Khalid Bagirov, Elchin Namazov, and Muzaffar Bakhish, all expelled from practising law.

In recent months, however, the crackdown has intensified, with a number of lawyers defending political activists and journalists facing disciplinary action by the Bar Association.

Imanov, whose clients have also included renowned investigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova among others, was disbarred in November 2017. Irada Javadova, who criticised the association for disbarring Yalchin Imanov was disbarred in June. Fakhraddin Mehdiyev, Asabali Mustafayev, and Nemat Karimli, who all defended prominent journalists and opposition figures were given year-long suspensions.

http://oc-media.org/left-without-a-defence-azerbaijans-purge-of-human-rights-lawyers/

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/what-happened-to-azerbaijans-lawyers/88538

Azerbaijan: What Happened to Azerbaijan’s Lawyers?

What Happened to Azerbaijan’s Lawyers?

The former Soviet republic is sorely in need of more independently minded attorneys.

When Khalid Bagirov, a prominent defense lawyer in Azerbaijan, was disbarred in 2015 while working a case involving a political activist, it was yet another cause for alarm. How so? The Caucasian country of nearly 10 million is full of bureaucracy — where lawyers typically flourish — so it should be teeming with others like him. As it turns out, every attorney counts in the former Soviet republic, where the legal profession finds itself confronting a government determined to clamp down on its numbers and redefine its role in society.

Based on figures from the Azerbaijani Bar Association (ABA):

AZERBAIJAN HAS ROUGHLY ONE BAR-APPROVED LAWYER FOR EVERY 10,000 CITIZENS — THE LOWEST RATE IN EUROPE.

The ABA says it has 1,503 members on the books, the majority of which — 806 — are located in Baku, the capital city. That’s compared to roughly 10 lawyers per 10,000 citizens in neighboring Georgia and around 38 attorneys per 10,000 people in the U.S. Even Azeri officials are concerned about the low ratio. Recently, the ABA moved to boost the legal headcount.

These days, that low statistic is more significant than it used to be. Prior to this year, non-bar attorneys were free to practice all manner of non-criminal law. Insiders estimate there are 250,000 civil and administrative cases currently open, almost all of which have traditionally been handled by non-bar lawyers while their counterparts focused on criminal proceedings. But a new law enacted in January effectively stripped them of those privileges — now only bar-approved members are allowed inside a courtroom.

 

Government supporters insist the new measure is aimed at boosting the quality of Azerbaijan’s legal system — but critics beg to differ. Instead, they believe it’s about the government keeping closer tabs on the legal profession more broadly, part of what Amnesty International says is Azerbaijan’s descent “deeper into the abyss of rightlessness.”

Bagirov knows firsthand. Temporarily disbarred twice before, he was kicked out of the ABA for good in 2015 after defending an opposition politician who planned to challenge Azerbaijan’s iron-fisted president, Ilham Aliyev, at the ballot box. Bagirov’s dismissal reflects what he describes as a broader hostile work environment for independent lawyers, which includes both personal and professional harassment. “The goal in authoritarian regimes is to monopolize control over all spheres of life,” Bagirov says. “That’s how our authoritarian regime is trying to control legal activity: to monopolize it all.”

https://www.ozy.com/acumen/what-happened-to-azerbaijans-lawyers/88538

http://en.apa.az/azerbaijan-politics/domestic-news/number-of-lawyers-exceeds-1-500-in-azerbaijan.html

Azerbaijan: Rights lawyer prevented from leaving Azerbaijan

July 18, 2018

Azerbaijani human rights lawyer Emin Aslan was prevented from boarding a flight out of Azerbaijan in Baku International Airport on Monday morning, he has confirmed to OC Media. Aslan was released 13 days ago after serving 30 days in administrative detention for ‘disobeying police’. His detention in June was condemned at the time by local rights groups as well as the EU Parliament.

Aslan told OC Media he was informed by border agents at the airport that he was subject to a travel ban, something he said he had not previously been told. ‘They informed me that my travel ban was [issued] by the Ministry of Internal Affairs on 30 May 2018. This is the date I entered Azerbaijan from the US’, Aslan said.

‘This is a violation of my freedom of movement because I have never been a witness or suspect in any criminal case and I do not have any debt or tax obligation’, he added. Aslan said his lawyers had appealed to the Prosecutor General’s Office and Ministry of Internal Affairs for more information about the ban.

Aslan, a recent graduate of Syracuse University College of Law in New York State, previously worked for two Tbilisi-based rights groups, the Eastern European Centre for Multiparty Democracy and the Human Rights House Tbilisi. He has helped to litigate a number of cases of alleged human rights abuses of Azerbaijani citizens at the European Court of Human Rights.

Abduction and conviction

Aslan was apprehended in Baku in early June by a group of men in civilian clothes, a week after his return to Azerbaijan. The following day, after local activists reported on his apparent abduction, the authorities informed Aslan’s lawyer that the Narimanov District Court had found him guilty of ‘disobeying police’ and sentenced him to 30 days administrative detention. Aslan was deprived of his right to legal counsel throughout his detention and the court hearings.

http://oc-media.org/rights-lawyer-prevented-from-leaving-azerbaijan/

http://www.turan.az/ext/news/2018/7/free/Social/en/73687.htm

https://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/ismail-djalilov-and-tamara-grigoryeva/injustice-for-all

http://oc-media.org/eu-parliament-says-no-deal-until-azerbaijan-frees-political-prisoners/

https://www.coe.int/en/web/baku/-/azerbaijan-torture-impunity-and-corruption-in-law-enforcement-remain-systemic-and-widespread-new-anti-torture-committee-publications

https://mediamax.am/en/news/foreignpolicy/29460/

https://arrestedlawyers.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/defence-for-defenders.pdf

https://www.protect-lawyers.com/fr/avocat/emin-aslan/ (FRANCAIS)